Anti-Jewish and anti-Israel events are raining down on us. A Jewish man shot and killed in Florida. A Jewish woman approached in broad daylight in Crown Heights by 6 black women and punched and shouted antisemitic slurs at. Can the connection with the rise in antisemitism and the anti-Israel voices be ignored?
With regards to Israel, in an "ideal" world, we could all sit down and logically talk about what's going on in Gaza. We'd make nice spreadsheets and power point presentations, and going over the history of Jews in the Middle East and the attempts at ceasefires and peace treaties and wars, and we'd look at each other, calmly, and decide on the most logical procedure to take.
We're not living in that world. We're not fighting a logical war. We're fighting a "I don't have time to really learn the facts", " I don't have time to sit down and talk" , " I don't have time to think logically". We're fighting an emotional war, in a world that is inundated with needs, that is moving so rapidly, that Israel/Palestinian ongoings are an easy thing to spit out on FB before moving on to their next task.
The world moves rapidly and our concerns are great. Only those intimately involved with The Conflict have the mental time, space, energy, and concern to sit, think, know deeply, if even then. Often times, I think about how if I weren't so entrenched in it, if I wasn't Jewish and I didn't know Israel from its core, intimately, would I act any differently? Would I think any differently? To really research, to really understand, against the onslaught of opinions and debates that rage against it.
But there is a way that we, in America, can become soldiers. Because we, as Jews, represent Israel. The expression " al kiddush Hashem" encapsulates this reality. When we do something good, people don't just see it as a Jewish person doing something good. They see it as The Jewish People must have an element of good. There must be something good implicit in Judaism. That extra smile, that extra tzedakah, that extra concern, is the emotional warfare we can take. Not just to bring more peace into the world, but to show outsiders that this is the Jewish People. So that if they are attacked by the onslaught of media, as they are inundated with voices that are ridiculing Jewish people, in the back of their mind, they will remember that extra Jewish smile, that time that Jewish man took the time to open the door so they could hobble across. And it will be a split second, a minuscule memory in their mind, but in the split second, a question will arise, and a slight feeling of concern will follow: "That Jewish person, is it possible, that they could stand for something so terrible? Maybe I should look further into things..." And with that slight element of doubt, the emotional war walls become to crumble, the rage begins to melt, and the opportunity for supporting the Jewish people begins to show
As my father says: " I've got the map of Israel all over my face". ( meaning, he clearly looks like a Jew). But we've all got , regardless of our appearance, that map, that opportunity, to represent the Jewish people. Represent Israel. We've all got that opportunity, to raise a sliver in doubt in anti-Jewish or anti-Israel bias. And it's certainly not by logic alone. Rather, it's by smiles. And spare change. And open doors. Here's to a brighter world, please God.